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Ulysses101
Ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 3443
Experience:  11 years experience in Canada family law, plus criminal, civil, and employment
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I was recently accused by my employer, during my regular

Customer Question

I was recently accused by my employer, during my regular employment duties of "touching" a passenger on my bus (I drive a handy dart and convention transit bus). I was approached by management in the lunchroon with this accusation in front of other employees and I am unsure if this constitutes a breach if my privacy or something else. what are my options in dealing with this, I am afraid of what my employer may do to me and what other peers might think of me.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Hello Mark, thank you for the question.

When did this happen?

Was there any other communication between you and management about this, other than in the lunchroom on that one occasion?

Do you belong to a union?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the conversation happened last friday the 13th of November 2015 before 7am in the lunch room, the complaint was made on Thursday the 12th of November 2015. I do belong to a union, but the union policy is that I report to a job stuart. the union does not directly respond to there members, I have found the job stuart are just "management patsies" and rumors usually end up following
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

OK, I have news for you and it's not going to be what you want to hear. But Mark, please don't shoot the messenger.

Firstly, if you belong to a labour union, that union has the sole right and obligation to represent you against the employer. So if you believe that you've been disciplined unfairly, or simply improperly (such as bringing it up in the lunchroom) then you have to raise it with your union if you do anything at all.

Now, if the union stewards are all in with management, then report this to your steward and if nothing happens, go over the steward's head. Or get a few other co-workers who have also been ignored by your steward to all contact above the steward. No union official wants to risk a job site's members rejecting the union just because some steward, who is low in the hierarchy, is in the pocket of the employer.

You haven't been officially disciplined yet, so you can't bang the drum too loudly. But you should definitely let the steward know that you're not happy about how this is playing out. In fact, if the steward is in tight with management and you really show some teeth, then the steward might suggest to management that they back off this issue unless there's proof and the discipline is done by the book.

It's time to objective about the situation. You can't stop rumours from starting. You can't help what your co-workers think of you. So just take the moral high ground and press on. There's no point in worrying about things you cannot change.

Same thing with what the employer "might do". They might discipline you. They might fire you. They might do nothing. The only thing that might help is for you to talk to the steward and be serious, and to start advocating for tools to avoid false accusations, like cameras on the buses or something. You want to make yourself out to be the victim, but not with any whining or sympathy-gathering, rather in an assertive way. That might help, but there are no guarantees of course.

Does that assist, Mark? If there's more to discuss then please reply. If I've answered you then I'd appreciate a positive service rating please.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am really looking for a professional legal opinion in this matter, this aligation is totally false. I have neither harmed anyone, nor has there been any inappropriate "touching". during my daily duties I deal with handicapped and elderly passengers, many of these people need assistance with seat belts, but not limited to physically assisting people off and on the bus. my employer was just acting on a false report to which they received from someone who is the director of a day program for mentally handicapped adults. the employer is secondary in this matter
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

There's nothing to defend. You haven't been formally accused or disciplined of anything. In fact, it's possible that the management thought they were doing you a favour by giving you a "heads up" informally about the complaint.

You're not going to get an injunction or anything from the court yourself because the union has the task of representing you in such things. If the union won't do its job then your recourse is to sue the union.

I know what you want me to tell you, but I can't just say what you want to hear. That's not helping.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the aligation made against me are criminal in nature and will damage me as I work around children, elderly, and the general public
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
my response to my employer, at the time they told me this was that they need to phone the abbotsford police. just a point I am not trying to go after my employer..........I want to pursue the people that made the false accusations
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

You haven't been charged with anything criminally, and you can't stop anyone from making the allegation, nor can you stop the police from investigating if they are called. If the police contact you, say nothing. Instead, refer them to your union steward for comment, and see if the union will pay for a criminal lawyer for you since this allegation was absolutely in relation to your employment duties. Your benefits plan might well have a legal services benefit, look into that.

You want me to tell you that there's something you can do to stop all of this right now, because you know it's wrong. I can't tell you that because there's nothing you can do to stop all of this right now. You can only deal with the consequences when it becomes known to you what complaint or report has been made to whom.

Until the complaint is processed, and you know the details, and you're cleared, you can't go after anyone. There's nothing to go after them for at this point. If there's a criminal charge which you beat, then you can look at it in hindsight to see if it's worth going after the complainant. But you can't right now. You have suffered no monetary damages, you haven't been disciplined at work, and you haven't been charged with anything.

I understand that you want to take action, but please read what I wrote and think about it and get back to me.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think you need to focus on who made the aligation and not who asked me if they were true. If someone makes a deflamatory comment that costs me my reputation (already has as people at work are already doin this now) is this not a civil matter
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
but anyways thanks for trying. sad how some can just start a rumor with no basis in fact or evidence against an person, that damages someone professionally and there is nothing that can be done to stop them
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Mark, you came here to ask a lawyer what they think of the situation. I'm telling you what I think. Please listen.

You don't know if the complainant has called the police or not. All you know is what your employer told you in the lunchroom.

Defamation of character, or slander/libel, is absolutely a civil matter in which you'd sue the person for damages and an injunction to stop what they are doing. However, you haven't lost any money and you're still employed. Defamation of character isn't proven in court by simply people talking about you and spreading gossip.

I know it feels like things are coming to a head, but nothing has happened yet: no discipline, no criminal charges, no dismissal. Having your co-workers gossip about you is not actionable. And besides, whatever damage you perceive to have been done has already been done.

You can sue in court but you haven't suffered any damages yet, that can be demonstrated in court, as having cost you monetary loss.

If one could sue another for rumours, the courts wouldn't get anything else done. Plus the free speech issue.

Anything else to discuss?

Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Mark, I can tell that this is weighing heavily on your mind, and I'm asking you to step back and look at it very objectively because getting upset or emotional won't help. If you've read what I wrote, what do you think?

Ulysses

Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Hello Mark, I haven't heard from you. Are there any developments in your employment matter? Have you heard anything from the employer, or union, or police?

Ulysses

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